Skip to comments.Lawmakers urge state, EPA to settle air pollution squabble
Posted on 03/25/2011 8:28:49 AM PDT by thackney
A House subcommittee urged the EPA on Thursday to resolve its differences with Texas over the unique way the state regulates industrial air pollution. The bipartisan push came at the end of a hearing in Houston convened by a House Energy and Commerce subcommittee to review the impact of the Environmental Protection Agencys recent actions in Texas.
The EPA and Texas are at odds over several issues, but much of the talk focused on the federal agencys rejection of the states use of so-called flexible permits for refineries, chemical and plastics makers and other facilities.
Rep. Gene Green, a Democrat whose district includes the Houston Ship Channel, said industry needs regulatory certainty to grow, not lawsuits. They just cant have fighting between the EPA and the state, he said.
These issues should be resolved, agreed Rep. Joe Barton, R-Arlington. I cant stress enough that we have an environmental program at the state and federal level that people can believe in.
Difficult to negotiate
The permits in question require refineries, chemical plants and other facilities to meet an overall emissions cap but allows them to choose how to do so. Federal rules, however, require plants to limit emissions of certain pollutants from each source within a facility. The single overall cap, the EPA argues, makes the Texas permits unenforceable and allows plants to emit more than similar facilities in other states. But Texas officials say the system cuts red tape and pollution without violating federal law.
Texas has filed suit to block the EPAs disapproval of flex permits, asserting that there is no legal or technical justification for the agencys action, which affected about 130 facilities statewide.
(Excerpt) Read more at fuelfix.com ...